Glide Pride: Sylvester


1971 Marriage of Raggedy Robin and Raggedy Jane

Sylvester was on of 500 guests who attended the Circus themed wedding of Raggedy Robin and Raggedy Jane at Glide Church on May 1, 1971.  The couple getting married were both trained in circus arts, as were many of the guests.  There were aerial acrobatics over the center aisle and the Cockettes were also in attendance.  View photos from the event here.


1985 Sylvester and the Glide Ensemble Perform at the Same Event

Bay Area Reporter, Volume 15, Number 3, 17 January 1985. Courtesy of the Internet Archive.

Bay Area Reporter, Volume 15, Number 6, 7 February 1985

2018 Celebration of Sylvester

On December 16, 2018 Minister Marvin K. White led Celebration in honoring the spiritual legacy of San Francisco’s very own Disco Super Star – Sylvester. This marked the 30-year anniversary of his passing. Where better than Glide Church to celebrate Sylvester’s time on this earth and shine a light on his lasting impact and the example he left for us today? In the following interview, published originally in Glide Church’s Congregation Connect newsletter and slightly edited for clarity, Marvin speaks to his inspiration as a preacher and the importance of commemorating our queer heroes.  The following is an excerpt, you can read the full article here.

What was your inspiration for a Sylvester-themed Celebration?

He was a black gay church kid, he came out of the church, he was born in the church. If you listen to his music, it was still church. I want to celebrate and elevate our queer heroes.

In my practice, I am deeply committed to understanding what my role in the divine is and how to make sure that people who are interested in spiritual gifts, no matter what they are, that they find them. That I say something or do something to help them realize their gifts.

When I was 21, I saw Sylvester perform at the Castro Theatre with Two Tons of Fun. The person who took me told me “you need to know this is historic” and honestly, it just changed my life! I was ushered into the larger meaning of what Sylvester meant.

What do you believe Sylvester’s message to be?

You have to activate God on your behalf, and spirituality, and the divine. In a way that’s different from how we are taught in corporate and organized religion: that there is somebody you have to go through to get to it.

It reminds me of what Andy Warhol said, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

One of the things I talked about on Sunday is that each of us is our own tabernacle. We carry with us this fire and this spark and this music that has been passed on to us (by folks who didn’t make it) and whether they physically hand it to you, or you dance with them once and they bumped it into you, or you guys were all on the same dance floor—I mean, that’s why the dance floor is like Pentecost. Everybody gets it at the same time—everybody starts talking in tongues, but everybody can understand each other. That’s what happened with Sylvester’s music on the dance floor.

People like Sylvester—a black, cross-dressing boy from L.A.—people without role models, even we can still come into ourselves. Then, in doing that, we provide inspiration to others to come into themselves as well.

Our identities are our pathways to spirituality. And to our divinity. [They are the] keys to get you into it—not locks to keep you out of it.

The full 9am Sunday Celebration Service from December 16, 2018.


2022 Celebration of  Sylvester

Sermon at the December 18, 2022 Sunday Celebration remembering Sylvester.

2023 A Surprise at Sunday Celebration for Minister Marvin K White’s Birthday Recreated the Decorations from the Wedding of Raggedy Robin and Raggedy Jane

Above is a video excerpt from April 28, 2023 Sunday Celebration featuring the surprises in store for Minister Marvin K White.  Below is photos from the same Sunday Celebration showing the decorations.

If this exhibit has inspired you to learn more about Glide Pride, you can connect here.

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